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Counsel for Major League Baseball to speak

September 23, 2009 | Events

The Program on Dispute Resolution hosts a Lawrenece Lecture each year that features a speaker with a distinguished career as a negotiator. In 2009, the speaker is Steven Fehr, an attorney who has been outside counsel to the Major League Baseball Players Association since 1986.

Fehr is  a Kansas City  attorney who is of counsel with the firm of Jolley, Walsh, Hurley, Raisher and  Aubry, P.C., in Kansas City,   Missouri.

Since 1980,  Mr. Fehr’s practice has centered on baseball.  Currently, he is the primary outside counsel to the Major League  Baseball Players Association (MLBPA).

In the past  he has represented individual players (beginning in 1981, and in conjunction  with Richard Moss from 1981-90). Steve  has served as the agent for dozens of players in hundreds of individual  contract negotiations, and he also argued for players in more than 40 baseball  salary arbitration cases.

Players he  has represented include: Jack Morris,  Fernando Valenzuela, Andre Dawson, Nolan Ryan, Frank White, Hal McRae, Charlie  Leibrandt, Brian McRae and David Cone. In  1992 Steve tried and won a salary arbitration case for Cone which set the  record then for the highest figure ever awarded in salary arbitration. In addition, after the 1992 and 1995 seasons,  he negotiated free-agent contracts for Cone each of which made Cone then the  highest paid pitcher in baseball.

In 1987 Steve  was retained as lead attorney for the MLBPA in the “Collusion” cases, which  involved claims that club owners had conspired to deprive free agent players of  their rights. After decisions in favor  of the MLBPA in each of the three cases, he was one of the main negotiators of  the Collusion settlement, under which the clubs (in 1990) agreed to pay $280  million to the players.

Since 1990  Steve has acted as outside counsel for the MLBPA on numerous other matters,  including the 1992 Economic Study Committee; the 1994 strike and related  litigation, and the negotiations leading to the new collective bargaining  agreement reached in 1996; the proceedings leading to the passage by Congress  of the Curt Flood Act which became law in 1998, and the John Rocker  grievance-arbitration case in 2000.

In 2001 and  2002 Steve served as counsel and one of the lead negotiators for the Major  League Baseball Players Association in collective bargaining. Those negotiations led, in August 2002, to a  new Basic Agreement. This was the first  time in more than 30 years that the owners and players had reached a successor  collective bargaining agreement without a work stoppage. Then in 2006, Steve again served as counsel and  negotiator for the MLBPA in negotiations which led to a new collective  bargaining agreement reached in October 2006.  In addition, in 2006 and 2007 Steve represented the MLBPA in the  Mitchell Investigation, involving former Senator George Mitchell’s  investigation of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball.

He has  testified before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives (in  December 2001) and has twice argued and won cases before the U.S. Supreme  Court: TWA v. IFFA, 485 U.S. 175 (1988); IFFA v. Zipes, 491 U.S. 754 (1989).